We walk in, our girl hits his back, I tell him, "You dumb cowboy, you can't do that in a mirror, all is backwards! Give me your knife, I will do the cutting." He stands there with a knife stuck in his chest, stands there grinning and looking back and forth between us girls. I reach up and pull out his knife.
Our girl starts unbuckling his belt, he slaps at her hands, "I'm keeping on my jeans!" She tells him, "Daddy, when momma starts cutting you are going to bleed like crazy, blood will get all over your jeans!" A smile twitches at his mouth corners, we know he is being ornery; he doesn't care if his jeans are on or off. She tugs at his belt buckle again, her daddy slaps at her hands again, "I'm keeping on my jeans!" His girl asks why, my husband looks at me, twitching smile, sparkle in his eyes, "Your momma is ornery, she might cut off more than she should!" This earns him another hit from our daughter, "That looks like an unusually large growth but you know damn well we ain't about to cut off your pride!" He still won't allow her to remove his jeans! Our cowboy is simply being ornery, we are almost always nude around each other at home. I give him a quip, "Besides, we would need a chainsaw to cut off that huge macho pride of yours!"
Don't know what he was thinking to do this alone, he is a darn tough old fashion cowboy. Our girl fetches our first-aid kit, pulls out what we need, rubbing alcohol, forceps, reading glasses for me to wear and a couple of clean wash rags to wipe away blood. Tell him, "You have to let me know when I get into nerves, tendons or muscles. Nerves will feel like electricity, tendons like a rubber band and muscles will twitch." We begin, I play surgeon, our girl plays nurse. I cut, she wipes away blood.
We get to sharing photos with girlfriends. After a handful my ornery sister-daughter pulls out this photo of her daddy standing there grinning with a bullet wound in his chest. With a perfect stoic Indian face, this is "poker face" to you white folks, straight faced our girl explains, "This is the night my momma shot my daddy."
Our girlfriends look then get all butt-squirmy bullfrog-big-eyed and look at each other, look at our girl and me. Eventually I am asked, "You shot your husband?" Just as perfect of a poker face as my girl, "Yes, ma'am, I sure enough did." This is our daughter's cue to take over; she is more believable, she doesn't look as Indian as her momma.
"Momma and I come home from grocery shopping. We get our groceries put away then head to our bedroom for clothes to launder. We take good care of our cowboy," stoic face she continues, "There he is naked and lying on our bed sleeping, alone. Makes us mad so my momma fetches our Colt six shooter and plugs him, deservingly so. Nothing life threatening, just a shoulder wound. We madly love the boy."
Takes a minute or so for our girlfriends to recover and realize this does not make sense, "You shot your husband for being in bed alone?" This is my cue to continue our poker bluff, "Yes, darn cowboy is in bed alone, that ain't right so I shoot him." This is our girl's cue, "My daddy is a silver tongued devil of a cowboy gentleman who loves his cowgirls. He is supposed to be in bed with one or two girls like always. His being in bed alone is misbehaving. If momma didn't shoot him, I would have."
Our daughter slides off his jeans then empties his pockets; wallet, folding money and truck keys. Opening our sliding shower door, she tosses his jeans in on floor, "I have to scrub your jeans because of you!" Her daddy grins, "Well, you are the laundry girl around here!" She hits him yet again then begins warming up her shower water while slipping off her own clothes.
Couple minutes she takes his arm, "Go on, get in there and stay out from under the spray!" He does, she closes our shower door behind her, "Move back there against the wall, I told you not to get wet! Just stand there and don't move while I scrub your jeans." I hear wet jeans slapping wet tile, "Momma, fetch me our scrub brush." Reaching into a cabinet under our sink I pull out our coarse scrub brush, open our shower door, reach in, "Here, give your daddy's point of pride a vigorous scrubbing!" She laughs, "I will!"
From the sounds she is making, I know our girl is down on the shower pan scrubbing blood out of her daddy's jeans. Her voice echos in there, "Quit! Stop that!" There are slapping sounds, "Quit, I have to scrub your jeans!" Both she and her daddy are laughing. He is being ornery.
Not long she drapes those jeans over our shower door to drip. Still seriously in charge, "Daddy, you mind me, do what I say, this is important. Come closer. Turn around and lean your head back under the shower." There is shuffling around, "Stay like this, I need to gather your hair behind your back." Although there is room for six in our shower, I decide not to join those two. Our girl is in charge, she needs privacy not distraction. I sit on our toilet and listen. She makes me proud.
"Momma, hand me a clean wash rag." I fetch this from a cabinet, stick my arm in, she takes her rag. I close the door, sit and return to listening. "I'm going to wash blood off but I won't get into your wound, you stand still." Quiet. Some light laughter. Our girl shrieks and laughs, "That tickles, stop, hold still!" They are quiet again, our girl drapes her washrag next to his jeans, water turns off, "We're done, come on." They step out, only minor bleeding from his wound.
They are wet and dripping, "Momma, you dry him while I dress and bandage his wound." While drying I am careful not to get too close to his wound. His girl prepares a large square bandage, smears around a lot of antiseptic cream. "I'm going to wet your wound with rubbing alcohol. This will hurt like hell, daddy." He grins, "Whiskey will work better." Confuses both of us, our girl tells him, "No, isopropyl alcohol sterilizes better than whiskey." Our cowboy grins again, "Whiskey ain't for my wound, whiskey is for me!" Our girl looks at me, grins. I head to our kitchen to fetch his bottle of whiskey. When I return, she has his wound dressed and bandaged. I hold up his bottle, "We need to get you on your back in bed to lower your blood pressure." Our cowboy looks at us, "A bottle of whiskey and a bed, I don't think lowering my blood pressure is what you girls have in mind!" We both hit at him, my girl tells her daddy, "You just shut-up and come on!"
Our home surgery story is about an American Indian mind-set, a oneness of mind. Events like this cannot be managed without a powerful and focused mind-set. Three of us talk, tease and joke to help each other concentrate on our task while ignoring all this blood and this pain our cowboy suffers. We become one of mind and address our task effectively and efficiently. While our humor, even lascivious humor, might not seem to be a focused mind-set, this is oneness of mind through lighthearted banter; no room for thoughts of sympathy nor thoughts of pain.
Our powerful oneness of mind is born of ten-thousand years of living out in the wild. During those thousands of years there are hurts, bites, injuries, lacerations, illnesses and, of course, death. Our ancient ancestors develop ways of focused mind-set which are passed down through thousands of years of generations of our Indian peoples. We are taught to be of one tribal mind to survive challenges of life. Our family is fiercely tribal.